Bere Ferrers Rail Accident

THE BERE FERRERS RAIL ACCIDENT
24 SEPTEMBER 1917

On Monday 24 September 1917, ten New Zealand soldiers were killed, and two were injured when they alighted from a troop train at Bere Ferrers station.

According to the inquest the evidence showed that the men were travelling in a troop train which was pulled up at Bere Ferrers station, the line ahead being blocked. The soldiers had been told that on arrival at Exeter, which was expected to be the first stop, two men from each compartment were to get out and draw rations from the brake van.

When the train pulled up at Bere Ferrers, and almost before it had come to a stand, a number of men jumped on to the line, apparently under the impression that they had arrived at the stopping place of which they had been told. Almost immediately an express train from Waterloo to Plymouth dashed through the station and the men on the line were struck down.î

Nine New Zealand soldiers were killed instantly. One, W J Trussell died later at  Tavistock Hospital. The ten are buried at Efford Cemetery in Plymouth and each have a Commonwealth War Graves headstone. There is a monument to this terrible disaster in the village church.